The United Fresh Produce Association has announced the 12 members of the 2015-2016 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Leadership Class 21. Sponsored by a grant from DuPont Crop Protection, this program was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 200 program participants. These professionals comprise the program’s 21st class: •Gary Beadles, RPE Inc, Bancroft WI •Julie DeWolf, Sunkist Growers, Valencia CA •Justin Heffernan, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Milwaukee WI •Tonya Hill, Frontera Produce Ltd, Edinburg TX •Robert Holthouse, Holthouse Farms/DRW Packing, Willard OH •Jess Kerstein, Lipman, Immokalee FL •James Martin, Wilson Produce LLC, Nogales AZ •Janine Meyer, NatureSweet Tomatoes, San Antonio TX •Greg Ogiba, AMC Direct Inc, Toronto, Ontario •Tim Rabon, Walter P Rawl & Sons Inc, Pelion SC •Brian Vertrees, Naturipe Farms, Wenatchee WA •Andrew White, Tosca LTD, Atlanta GA
Beginning this July, the members of Class 21 will participate in a number of educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development, business relationships, government and public affairs, and media and public communications. During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of trips that include face-to-face meetings with industry players, hands-on training with industry experts and educators, and interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington DC. This year’s schedule will feature trips to Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario; Washington DC; Wilmington DE; Southern California; and Chicago IL, where the class will graduate at the 2016 United Fresh Convention. Candidates for the program submitted an application including two essays detailing their interest in the program and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. Applications were reviewed by the Leadership Advisory Committee, which consists of United Fresh Board members and program alumni. The committee is responsible for assessing each candidate based on their experience and expertise, as well as developing a class that is balanced and representative of the industry. For more information, go to www.unitedfresh.org or contact Miriam Wolk at [email protected] or 202-303-3410.